Saying it seeks candidates who champion the middle class, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 4 today endorsed seven Republicans for municipal elections, including incumbent Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano for re-election.
"We're honored," Giuliano said. "I think we do things right in Middletown in terms of labor relations and management and I don't take it for granted, as the minority party, as Republicans. I understand labor might be a little uneasy with us, so we have to earn their trust and earn their respect — and we do that by our actions."
The labor union also chose to stand behind Ed Dypa, Linda Salafia, Deborah Kleckowski and Philip Pessina for Common Council, Tami Kapacziewski for Board of Education and Molly Salafia for Planning & Zoning.
Both city Payroll Administrator Linda Salafia and Water and Sewer Utility Worker Kapacziewski are union officers. Giuliano said their positions with the union did not factor into the GOP's choice of slate.
"We picked them on their quality of character."
"The main reason that I'm running for the Board of Education," Kapacziewski said, is "I have two young children in the school system, I've worked for the city for approximately 11 1/2 years and have been a union officer, representing people within the local and I really believe we need to get our focus back on the proper place — which is on the children."
Saying she wasn't the best public speaker, Linda Salafia said, "I can't complain about the government unless I participate and I think I can bring a different perspective."
Jeff Daniels, a police maintenance mechanic and president of AFSME's Middletown Local 466, spoke as a taxpayer, resident and city worker.
"I could not be happier with the slate of candidates our Council 4 union has endorsed. Starting with Mayor Giuliano, these are quality people who will stand up for the middle class and fight for quality public services."
Giuliano explained he's proud of his party's relationship with the union, which has nearly 650 members who live in the city.
"I don't intend to do anything different than I have in the last six years. I don't intend to do anything different with respect to labor. The answer is not always 'yes' and I think they respect that. They know that when we can't give them what they ask for it's for good reason."
Incumbents Kleckowski and Pessina could not make the announcement at Republican headquarters.
The Democratic candidate for mayor, Councilman Dan Drew, who won a primary against Christine Bourne Sept. 13, has been endorsed by the Central Connecticut Labor Council, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, Working Families, Connecticut Citizen Action Group and SEIU Locals 511 and 506 and CWA Local 1298.